Orcs Must Die! Unchained refocuses on classic PvE

Orcs Must Die! Unchained [official site] has launched a huge update taking the tower defense closer to its roots. The unpopular PvP mode is gone, for starters, which devs Robot Entertainment say is so they can “fully focus on bringing back the classic Orcs Must Die gameplay that players thought was missing in OMD!U”. Smashing! I enjoyed the earlier games, with their mix of building wacky traps and roaming around on foot fighting monsters myself, but didn’t dig what Unchained was up to.

The PvP ‘Siege’ mode not only divided development efforts but actively put new players off, Robot Entertainment explained in September:

“Despite tremendous efforts, Siege PvP mode just hasn’t worked out. As we’ve gone through various iterations on the game mode, we’ve ultimately seen only a small portion of our players actively playing Siege. More importantly, people who play Siege matches are less likely to continue playing the game at all after their match.”


“Our focus will now turn entirely toward making Survival feel, look, sound, and play more like a clear evolution of OMD and OMD2,” they said. And that’s what they’ve done.

The open beta’s Update 1.6 launched last week with loads of new maps, a new prologue, new traps, new traits, new enemies, new bosses, heaps of fighty tweaks and rebalancing, crafting changes, and, excitingly, reworked trap physics which should cause more silly deaths.

“For example, physics traps no longer deal damage initially. Instead, they now deal damage when the minion hits a surface after flying through the air. This makes it much more likely for comedic collisions and elaborate deaths to occur.”

Always important to consider wacky deaths. Check out update 1.6’s patch notes for full details on everything.

Orcs Must Die! Unchained is free-to-play on Steam or through publisher GameForge’s client.


  1. Halk says:

    Great. Now release it on GOG and I might (!) consider playing it.

    • likefunbutnot says:

      Orcs Must Die Unchained is free to play and you can get it from their web site. I’m not a Steam fan either, but the former PvP focus on the game was enough to keep me well away from it regardless. The new version got a nice introduction from Youtuber/Robot Entertainment Employee Nananea a few days ago and now it looks and plays like a reskinned Orcs Must Die 2, only with the option of running more than two players on the same map. It’s probably a lot of fun, but I have a sense that they’re looking for micropayment BS going forward and I’m not sure how much of that I could stand.

      • Halk says:

        I don’t have a Steam account, so even the fact that it’s F2P does not help.

        • mukuste says:

          You’re in luck! Steam accounts are free, too!

        • likefunbutnot says:

          The game doesn’t require Steam. You can download and play without it. I also dislike Steam and prefer to not deal with it. Believe me, I understand.

  2. aircool says:

    Orcs Must Die! was ok. Orcs Must Die 2! was awesome. OMDU was poo!

  3. Freud says:

    I loved the first one. Played it to bits. Didn’t enjoy the second one as much but that’s probably because so many orcs had died in the first game so it felt a bit too similar to me.

  4. aliksy says:

    I never wanted a “MOBA”, I never wanted PvP, and I certainly never wanted free-to-play. I wanted more stuff to co-op with my friends. I don’t know why they didn’t do “pay us money to get a game” again.

    • Deptfordx says:

      Because they started developing it when everyone and their dog was thinking ‘Look at DOTA. Let’s make a MOBA! That’s guaranteed to make us a fortune’. See also WoW and the subsequent glut of failed MMO’s.

    • gnalvl says:

      That’s basically how it is now. You don’t have to “pay to win” for the trap upgrades if you don’t want to, you can just use skulls you won from gameplay like in OMD1&2.

      So then the only thing you actually need to pay for is any of the new characters, which IMO is fine.

      • Thunderkor says:

        Well, not exactly. Traps and parts to upgrade those traps are locked behind an asinine chest system, so you rely on RNG to get them. So you can’t really be sure you’re going to have the traps you really want, or get the parts to upgrade those traps.

        I started playing after this update and while it is more like the earlier games than the previous MOBA abomination, it’s got those F2P headaches. I’m giving it a chance, though, because the core gameplay is similar to the older games now, and I’m hoping they iron out some of those wrinkles.

        It is true, however, the the only thing that you MUST gold on instead of skulls are the costumes. And those are also in RNG boxes, though I think some can be purchased directly for a higher cost than buying the RNG boxes.

  5. baseless_drivel says:

    Kinda glad to see the PvE focus, even if it cost them a lot of development time and money on a failed game mode.

    I can understand wanting to jump on the MOBA cash bandwagon, but OMD and Robot were never really big enough to muscle their way into the already-crowded MOBA market. Why not just stick with their strengths? Not exactly many shooter tower defense games out there. I can think of only Dungeon Defenders and Sanctum off the top of my head.

    They’ll have to rebalance some of the characters who arguably had a Siege focus though, like Ivy.

    I have to wonder how thorough and logical their analytics are though, and if they’re not just jumping to premature conclusions. Players might’ve stopped playing after trying Siege mode, but they might’ve only been playing Siege mode because they were bored of other game modes.

    • gnalvl says:

      I think the real problem isn’t so much the broader MOBA concept of heros leading minions to objectives, but the assumption that adopting that concept means you also need to copy every other element and balance point straight from DOTA.

      This is why Overwatch succeeded where so many other MOBA-influenced shooters failed. It only borrows the MOBA elements that work well in a shooter, and drops those that don’t. OW doesn’t bloat TTK and nerf solo strength to the downright boring levels of MOBAs. The is no grind for mid-match upgrades that serve as speedbumps to the action and reinforce the one-sidedness of bad matchups.

      OMDU needed a PVP balance that didn’t ruin the visceral moment-to-moment action of the shooter genre. Overwatch did it, so I don’t think it was unattainable for OMD – it just takes the development balls to stray from the DOTA blueprint where necessary. I think (and hope) that Quake Champions will prove you can go even further with moment-to-moment action in the her shooter genre than Overwatch did.

  6. Matys says:

    I wish they’d cut their losses and make a single payment game again. I can understand they want a slice of the microtransaction / moba cake but in adopting that model they left all the gameplay that made the other games fun. Combat and movement doesn’t feel solid and the skill cap is much lower, there isn’t even headshots.

  7. Neurotic says:

    Loved the first one, got stuck on the second one and never finished it. I feel like the introduction of co-op in 2 made some of the maps a bit tougher to solo than they would have perhaps been otherwise.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Absolutely this. If a game introduces a multiplayer mode, it should have separate levels. Otherwise one is deprecated in favor of the other.

  8. satan says:

    Gave it another look, ended up playing solo because there are so few other players. Was fun for a bit, but then I ran out of easy content/rewards, and I might be convinced to grind out the same maps I’ve already done if it was in the company of friends, but if I’m on my own I’d rather play OMD:2.